Consumers prefer direct mail to e-mail

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 2, 2004

Even in today's electronic world, most consumers still prefer postal mail for receiving documents, letters, messages, new product announcements and offerings, and confidential communications such as bank statements and financial reports, according to a survey conducted by International Communications Research (ICR) for Pitney Bowes.

The study, which was the third mail preference survey commissioned by Pitney Bowes since March 1999, found that despite a significant increase in households having access to e-mail (from 34% in 1999 to 62% in 2003,) the majority of consumers (66%) still prefer postal mail for documents, letters, and other messages (up from 62% in 2001). In addition, 76% of respondents considered mail more secure than e-mail.

Subject preferences
Three out of four respondents (75%) said they preferred regular mail for receiving new product announcements and offers from companies they already do business with, up from 73% in the 2001 survey. Regular postal mail was also preferred by 70% for receiving unsolicited information on products and services from companies they are not already doing business with.

Moreover, for confidential communications such as bills, bank statements, and financial reports, respondents overwhelmingly prefer postal mail (86%) as their channel of choice (down slightly from 93% in 2001).

Don't call me
"People prefer mail," concluded Timothy Bates, vice president of customer marketing for Pitney Bowes. In order to get the most accurate picture of consumer preferences for receiving unsolicited marketing information, the survey asked consumers in the USA which channel (mail, e-mail, or telemarketing) was their least favourite method of communication. Given the tremendous response to the National Do Not Call Registry in the US, more than 60% cited telemarketing as their least preferred channel.

Additional information about the 2003 Household Mail Preference Study, and an executive summary, have been made available from the Pitney Bowes web site.

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